January Films

January 1st, 2009 Film, Film Reviews, Penthouse

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Director: Kevin Smith

Stars: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen has specialised in slacker man-boy roles, and though Zack and Miri doesn’t look like a big stretch for him, it looks like Kevin Smith’s back on form. After skirting between drab rom-com with Jersey Girl and lazy retread with Clerks II, Zack and Miri is View Askew territory — heartfelt while profane, touching while smutty.

When lifelong friends Zack (Rogen) and Miri (40 Year Old Virgin/W’s Banks) are strapped for cash, they hit upon the esteemed but not terribly original idea of making a porno (see Jeff Bridges’ The Amateurs) to pay the bills. But in true Hollywood fashion, all the throbbing members and heaving bosoms surrounding them make the pair realise their long-buried feelings for each other.

Zack and Miri is the bastard love child of Kevin Smith’s work and stable of comedy king Judd Apatow — purely by reason of starring so many Apatow stars — and looks like it might offer the best of both worlds.

Doubt

Director: John Patrick Shanley

Stars: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

A powerhouse collection of thesping talent and a broadside at the abuses of power by the Catholic Church can only be good. Streep is the mother superior at a Bronx parish school where the priest (Hoffman) has formed a friendship with a young, bullied black boy.

But something in the way he treats the boy sits uncomfortably with her, especially the extended visits behind the locked door of his rectory. Struggling with her own sense of certainty but a complete lack of evidence, the fight for the truth will carve a rift not only in the school but her soul.

Themes of authority, faith and guilt swirl throughout the expected stellar performances and razor-sharp dialogue. Based on the Pulitzer-winning play, it’s a rare chance to see the acting craft at its finest.


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